When last we left director of barista studies, Peter King, he was jumping to incredible conclusions after Week 1, but now there’s been another week of football and therefore more knee-jerkishness… but knee-jerkishness with perspective! So what about this week? Seattle is incredibly loud, but they really need to pipe down and start sending important memos to baristas before the world’s resources are spent. When oh when will PK get to watch this “Breaking Bad” all the kids are talking about? Probably once he finds a beer that isn’t easy to drink. READ ON.
Thirty years of covering the NFL demands you have perspective after a night like last night.
The kind of august perspective that led Peter King to rave that offenses are on the wane after a low-scoring Week 1. That reactionary thought can only be cultivated through 30 years of kissing ass and taking names – it’s important you spell the name of ass owners correctly in journalism.
After all, it’s Week 2. Arizona won in Foxboro in Week 2 last year. Peyton Manning threw three interceptions in the first nine minutes in Week 2 last year. Strange things happen in September, before true patterns develop.
But it’s hard not to wonder this about the NFC playoff race:
30 years, folks…
If Seattle wins home-field advantage
Because a team that struggled mightily to beat the Panthers is assured of this, mind you.
what team is going into that cauldron of sound and fury, CenturyLink Field, and winning a football game? I mean, the 49ers are really good, the best team on a given day in football. In their last two games in Seattle, they’ve lost by a combined 71-16, scoring one touchdown. Their backs have rushed for 2.8 yards a carry. They’ve been penalized 179 yards. San Francisco has been a hot mess in only one place since 2012 dawned—Seattle—and no one can tell me it doesn’t have a lot to do with the crowd.
Which is nice, since no one has tried to argue otherwise.
It was so loud
AUDIENCE: How loud was it?
Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor told me, that the Seattle defense, which normally has an edge when the crowd is going nuts, had trouble hearing middle linebacker Bobby Wagner call the plays in the defensive huddle.
Not a very good punchline.
The Seattle secondary played with anvils in the their shoulder pads
And everyone is all hung up on PED use. This is the real safety issue, IMO.
and the pass rush (minus the suspended Bruce Irvin and rehabbing Chris Clemons, who accounted for 19.5 combined sacks last year) buzzed around Kaepernick all game. The Seahawks’ front never let Frank Gore breathe. San Francisco backs ran 11 times and gained 13 yards. They’d better figure a way to run it by the time of the rematch Dec. 8 in Candlestick.
I think “having the game in Candlestick” is a good start.
The Seahawks were on their best behavior early this morning. No bulletin board stuff from them. They know the truth, and the 49ers do too: If the road to the Super Bowl goes through Seattle, it’s going to be the biggest disadvantage in recent football history for the road team.
I like that Peter King only has conviction about things that can’t be disproved on account of being too vague to quantify.
Oh, and do read this 49ers fan bitching that the NFL should step in and regulate the crowd noise in Seattle. It’s delightful.
Now for the other stories of Week 2
The specter of Johnny Manziel. One scout at Manziel’s absolutely ridiculous game against Nick Saban’s Alabama defense Saturday told me Sunday: “It’s like [wrestler] Ric Flair once said: ‘You may not like this, but you better learn to love it.’ ‘’
He added, “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” then slapped PK across the chest.
Manziel, in his third year of eligibility at Texas A&M, could declare for the 2014 draft if he wants to come out, which seems likely. (He can also stay in and play the 2014 college season, and 2015 as well.) But Manziel, to many teams right now, would be undraftable because they’re scared of his mood swings and off-field questions.
These are the teams that are already set at quarterback. Because no team needing a passer would bat a fucking eye at drafting this kid.
But it only takes one team out of 32 to fall for him. And some team will, unless he self-destructs between today and draft day.
Petey is soooooo ready to hate the everloving shit out of Manziel. He already implied he was the second coming of Ryan Leaf over the summer when Johnny Football was excused from the prestigious Manning Passing Whatever. And just look at how resigned and bitter that sentence is. “Yeah, I guess some team will fall for his crafty “being good at quarterback” deceit. They WOULD, wouldn’t they? Our only hope is that he Ryan Leafs it up some more to spare us the glory boyism down the line.”
As I said on NBC Sunday night, Browns assistant GM Ray Farmer scouted the game. Hmmmmmm. Johnny Dawg Pound!
Because teams only scout players that they definitely plan to draft. 30 years of perspective, you guys.
The AFC rocks. The NFC East does not. Most of us think the NFC’s a better conference, right? It’s not acting like it. The AFC was 4-0 in cross-conference games Sunday. The NFC East went 0-4, three of the losses coming to the supposedly weak AFC West: Denver over the Giants, San Diego over the Eagles, and Kansas City over Dallas.
PK is just rocking my face with all this perspective this week. One week of a formerly bad but obviously improved AFC West beating up on the perennially overhyped NFC East and he’s ready to change the alignment of power. Just no one tell him about the steaming pile of shit that is the AFC North.
Andy Reid is 2-0 too … and he returns to the scene of his prime Thursday night.
Cute wordplay. Think he means Andy’s prime rib.
Good for Mike McCoy, who thinks before he snaps. So the Chargers had a 21-point lead with 21 minutes to play Monday night and blew it, losing 31-28 to Houston. Same old Norvy Chargers, right? “I went back and watched the tape,’’ McCoy said Sunday from Philadelphia. “I tortured myself. I went back and forth over the plays we called, wondering what we should have done. In this business, you know every time a play doesn’t work, you say, ‘I should have called something else.’ And after I examined all those plays down the stretch, you know what? I wouldn’t change a single one. I have faith in my coaches and what we called. We just had to play better, and that’s what I told my team.”
Oh yeah, that’s an encouraging, non-Norvy stance. “My gameplan was flawless and perfect. It’s these idiot players who couldn’t carry it out.”
The Fine Fifteen
2. Seattle (2-0). Thought I’d never see a division rivalry as physical as Baltimore-Pittsburgh over the last five to seven years. Seahawks and Niners: close.
It’s getting there. PK is gonna need to see just a little more physicality, though. Don’t be afraid to go out and physical it up. If a guy is in your path, you just outphysical him, unless it’s too loud to hear the physicaling.
7. Chicago (2-0). Jay Cutler hung in after a bad interception. Matt Forte hung in after an ugly strip-fumble by the Vikes. This is an imperfect team, but the Bears play in an imperfect division.
As is every team. As does every team.
10. Kansas City (2-0). Alex Smith is just what Andy Reid ordered.
200 pounds of meat?
Two games, two wins, zero turnovers.
I don’t see anything about a 50-piece order of boneless wings.
11. Cincinnati (0-1). To prove the times they have a-changed in Bengal Land, Cincinnati must beat Pittsburgh at home when it’s expected.
And when can we expect that?
Oh shit. They have games on MONDAY nights now? Another 23 years of writing bullshit about football and I’d know that.
12. Green Bay (1-1). Amazing Aaron Dept.:
AARON BURR! Our nation’s third vice president. Fairly lofty when it came to pistol duels.
Rodgers is averaging a 406-yard, 3.5-touchdown-pass day through two weeks. And he did his part of it Sunday after undergoing a massage/neck-maneuvering from club medics before the game.
He overcame a massage. Can’t remember the last time someone showed such resilience.
Goat of the Week
Greg Schiano, head coach, Tampa Bay.
Oh yes. So tasty.
The choice Schiano had to make with 70 seconds left in the fourth quarter and a 16-14 lead over New Orleans, with a 4th-and-3 at the Saints’ 29, in a game in which neither team had any timeouts left: He could have punted and pinned Drew Brees at the, say, 10-yard line with 64 seconds left. Brees would have needed maybe 60 yards to get into Garrett Hartley field-goal range. Or he could have the August waiver signing from Buffalo, Rian Lindell, try a 47-yard field goal. If Lindell made it, the Saints would have had to drive for a touchdown to win the game. If Lindell missed it, the Saints would get the ball at their 37- and need 30 yards to be in field-goal range. Schiano decided to try the field goal. It was shanked. Brees went 54 yards, sweatlessly, to the winning chip-shot field goal as the clock expired. Bad decision by a coach under fire.
Don’t you worry, Greggie. PK still has that free RV from the summer. Once the Bucs fire you in a few weeks, you can crash in here until you get your mind right.
Quotes of the Week
“Everybody talks about us out there on the West Coast and Southern California, but we got a lot of gritty, tough guys. We knew what this game was going to be. We knew it was going to be a track meet from the standpoint of how fast they were going to go offensively. We kind of no-huddled the no-huddlers as we got going.”
—San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers, after the Chargers came east on a short week and outlasted Philadelphia 33-30.
Take that, no-huddlers. Just when you thought you got the drop on the Chargers by not huddling, they had already not huddled. That’s the kind of gritty toughness it takes to win in a fast-moving track meet of a game.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
At Stanford, the official title of offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren is “Andrew Luck Director of Offense.” A Stanford booster endowed the position; another endowed the “Willie Shaw Director of Defense” (defensive coordinator Derek Mason) and David Shaw’s head coaching job is called the “Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football.”
All three positions, plus the endowed strength coach job, have not been funded in their entirety by contributions. But wealthy and enthusiastic fans of the program—such as Freeman, a Los Angeles investment executive and Stanford trustee who has contributed millions to the university—have funded much of the salaries of those coaches.
Eh. In Dallas, every front office position title is some form of “Jerry Jones Sky Fucked My Wife Director of _____”
Stat of the Week
We will all debate now whether Johnny Manziel will be a good NFL quarterback.
Oh, we’re just starting that debate now?
I feel strongly he’ll be playing on Sundays
almost certainly beginning in 2014 after the first NFL draft for which he’ll be eligible … of course, barring the kind of off-field immaturity Manziel has been sometimes known for while at Texas A&M.
“OH PLEASE OH PLEASE OH PLEASE OH PLEASE C’MON GOD JUST ONE LITTLE MELTDOWN THAT’S ALL I ASK”
I may be damning Manziel with faint praise here, but stylistically as a college player, he has some things in common with Tim Tebow.
Manziel can make people miss more, and he’s by any measure more accurate.
Sooooooo not at all like Tebow?
But there is one thing they definitely don’t have in common:
Unlike all the other things they don’t have in common.
Tebow’s second game against ‘Bama, in the 2009 SEC title game, was mediocre; Manziel’s second game against Alabama, after the Tide worked all offseason to be ready to stop him, was a success—despite two turnovers
So he’s a better prospect than Tebow, who was inexplicably taken in the first round. Yeah, this Johnny Whatshisface won’t be on the radar of many GMs.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
I finally got to experience an American tradition I’d missed in my 56 years: a football game at Michie Stadium at West Point, hard by the Hudson River. For those who haven’t experienced it, I highly recommend it. West Point’s an hour north of Manhattan, but the traffic chokes up near Michie Stadium.
Were you not aware that Peter King delivers traffic and weather reports on the 8s?
Beautiful day for a game—bright sun (giving way to first-half clouds), temperature in the mid-60s, with a slight breeze. First thing you notice: It’s hilly here. Everything’s a hill.
Second thing you notice: Peter King passed out at the bottom of the first hill he tried to ascend.
Tweets of the Week
“Passed an electronic billboard on I-94 north of Chicago that reads ‘TRESTMAN: The only good thing to come from Minnesota.’ “
—@TomPellisero of USA Today, referring to the coach Chicagoland is having a honeymoon with, Marc Trestman of the Bears.
I understand there’s a division rivalry, but c’mon Chicago, do show more respect to Prince.
“The bad: 12 hour bus ride last night from Durham to Providence. The good: off day allowing us to go to Pats v Jets game tonight.”
—@shelleydunc, Shelley Duncan of the Durham Bulls Triple-A team, upon arriving in Rhode Island for the break day in the International League Championship Series with Pawtucket. Sounds like Shelley scored some ducats for the Thursday-nighter 26 miles up the road in Foxboro.
Travel schedules of minor league baseball players: endlessly fascinating and always worthy of inclusion. I bet PK thinks this actually counts as a football note because there’s a reference to a game.
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think this is what I liked about Week 2:
a. The NFL Matchup Show on ESPN, which had this bit of prescience from Ron Jaworski Sunday on Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III: “His mechanics are flawed right now because of the injury.” Which is what Jon Gruden said during the Monday Night Football telecast in Week 1. Griffin doesn’t fully plant his right leg—with the knee that had surgery. And that prevents him from getting full velocity on his throws.
Jaws regurgitated what everyone already knew and what Gruden already said six days previous. Grand nuggets of loftitude.
b. John Elway taking time from his Denver duties to drive 70 minutes north of the Meadowlands to see Stanford-Army Saturday afternoon in West Point. He’s a good alum.
And Rex Ryan is apparently a dick for going to Clemson to see his son play during the preseason? Got it.
c. Good Sunday column, as usual, by Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston, recalling his first-guessing at the Patriots letting Danny Woodhead go to San Diego in free-agency for two years and $3.5 million. In the annals of recent free-agency decisions made, this was one of the big swings and misses for New England.
Fucking Christ. This is going to be a favorite talking point for the worst of NFL media for a while. The loss of Danny Woodhead kills the Patriots! Just look at how gritastic the Chargers are now! I watched Chargers-Eagles long enough to hear Dan Dierdorf make this same point about Woodhead and the Pats.
By the way, here’s Woodhead’s stat line from yesterday
Nine carries for 27 yards
Eight catches for 37 yards
54 yards on 17 touches! That’s fewer than four yards per! What a difference maker!
2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 2:
d. Washington cornerback David Amerson, for his casual coverage on James Jones—and then for getting away with a hold on Jones, and then … well, lets just say this about the rookie: Of the nine early games Sunday, he had the worst day of any cornerback. Easy.
DeAngelo Hall would like a word.
h. Do the right thing, Competition Committee: Make it illegal for an offensive player to block below the waist when a defensive player can’t see it coming.
A decent suggestion, but this is included among the item you supposedly didn’t like about Week 2, so doing the right thing = bad according to backwards PK logic.
i. This from my buddy Elliott Kalb in the Sunday Night studio: Bill Parcells’ 1990 Super Bowl champs had 14 turnovers all season. The 2013 Giants have 10 after two weeks.
Well the 2007 Super Bowl champion Giants had 34 turnovers in the regular season and once had eight over a two-week span. Once again – perspective, PK doesn’t have it.
3. I think Jacksonville’s the worst team in the league, and it’s not close. It’s taken only eight quarters to prove it definitively.
At least they didn’t waste our time by teasing non-worstiness. Way to establish an identity early, Jags.
4. I think the complaints about the NFL’s new small-bag policy have been coming in, including one from The MMQB staff writer Robert Klemko’s grandmother, Barbara. Thought I’d give her an airing here, to represent a load of fans unhappy with the new bag rule.
This is how isolated in thought Peter King is. These complaints have been going on for months and reported on by God knows how many outlets, but Petey can’t be aware of the complaints of the great unwashed until the mother of one of his colleagues has to point it out to him.
9. I think—no, I know—that Josh Freeman was not one of the top two vote-getters to be named a Bucs offensive captain. When the Bucs elected their captains, the vote came right after Freeman’s oversleeping and missing the team photo, and he probably wouldn’t have won it anyway because of the team-wide respect for winners Davin Joseph and Vincent Jackson. But stories circulated that coach Greg Schiano cooked the vote to make sure Freeman—allegedly not one of Schiano’s favorites—wouldn’t be one of the two captains. A trusted source says that absolutely didn’t happen. So put that story to bed. Not that it matters much; Freeman’s not going to be the Tampa Bay quarterback much longer if he continues to lose (the Bucs are 1-7 in his last eight starts, and in their last eight games) and complete 54 percent of his throws (his completion percentage since the start of the 2012 season). People, I believe, are getting this wrong, about Schiano having it in for Freeman. He doesn’t. Schiano’s a performance guy. When you lose seven of eight and oversleep for the team photo after a so-so offseason, Schiano’s not going to be a fan. Has nothing to do with a personality conflict. It’s a performance conflict.
Schiano’s just a results guy who gets no results. Best kind of coach to have.
10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:
b. Saw something I’d never seen before, at any level of football: a timeout called at halftime. Well, almost. Army came out for the start of the third quarter, took the field, and the quarterback called a timeout.
Lovie Smith is so sad he never got to do this.
d. Big week for John Legend. First he announces himself as a Bengals fan in The MMQB.
Then he gets married.
“But what does that have to do with MEEEEEEEEEEEEE?”
e. Can some doctor out there tell me why the University of Minnesota should keep Jerry Kill coaching football after his fourth seizure in three years on a Gopher game day? I don’t want to be insensitive. I’d really like to know if it makes sense to keep him on as coach.
“No offense, I just don’t think people who have epilepsy should be allowed to have jobs.”
f. Red Sox reliever Koji Uehara has faced 37 batters in the past month. He has retired all 37. Three of the 37 have hit the ball into the outfield. Sixteen have struck out.
g. Has a reliever in major-league history had a better month? Probably. I just don’t know who it would be, or when. To retire 37 in a row, with 34 not getting the ball out of the infield, is quite a feat.
I think I know what’s going on here. PK has harassed SI’s stats department enough over baseball shit to throw into his football column and someone finally put their foot down. So now he’s trying to slyly crowdsource whether that’s a first in Major League history.
h. C.C. Sabathia, 4.90 ERA. C.C. Sabathia, owed $96 million over the next four seasons.
Oh noes, I don’t know if the Yankees will ever be able to grossly overpay for anyone ever again!
k. Beernerdness: I’ve become a big fan of Brewmaster Jack beers, from Holyoke, Mass. Just tried another of their ales, Aquila Pale Ale. Lighter than most ales, with a malty flavor. Very easy to drink, and tasty.
And they just easier to drink the more you pound! It’s incredible! Look, I just dumped a sixer into their bucket and down they go! It don’t get easier than thi [passes out]
l. Coffeenerdness: One thing I don’t understand about baristas.
“WHY WON’T THEY LET ME YELL AT THEM!? YOU’RE HERE TO SERVE MEEEEEEEEE!”
I bring a re-useable grande cup into Starbucks and order a macchiato. Most often, the baristas take a short cup, line it up under the espresso filters, and push the button. The espresso flows into the cup, and the barista pours the espresso on top of the milk in the cup. Then the barista tosses the cup away. There are two other ways to do this—either by pouring the shots directly into the glass shot cups, or by having the shots flow directly into the cup filled two-thirds with milk. Instead, there’s a wasted paper cup. Time to issue a memo to baristas, Seattle.
IS IT TOO LOUD TO THINK UP THERE IN REMOTEVILLE!? Get on it, Seattle. As for the baristas, they’re probably just used to the method they use to get through serving hundreds of fat, fastidious assholes like PK each day. And maybe – JUST MAYBE – saving the planet a paper cup at a time takes a backseat to just getting through their shift and earning their meager wage and hopefully one day no longer working at Starbucks.
o. I guess I have made a big mistake (my first). Never watched Breaking Bad. You know that feeling when everyone says you’ve got to watch a show, and you’re so far behind, and you throw your hands up in the air and say, “I’ll never catch up?” That’s me and Breaking Bad.
Two weeks in a row. You know what this means. He’s gonna start watching it next off-season and I’ll have to sift through six years late astounded commentary on shows I’ve already seen.
Who I Like Tonight
Cincinnati 20, Pittsburgh 16. It’s not a pleasant Monday night facing Geno Atkins for anyone, but a week ago, Fernando Velasco was on the street looking for work, having been cut by the Titans, and now Velasco replaces Kelvin Beachum as the Steeler center. In Cincinnati, where, presumably, the crowd will make it difficult for the Steelers to make their usual line calls, complicating matters for a center in his first game. Now, the center doesn’t have primary responsibility on Atkins, obviously. But even if Velasco has to block or combo-block Atkins only 40 or 50 percent of the game, the new kid on the block will still have a strong nose man, Domata Peko, to contend with on the other plays. The line is a major Steelers concern, particularly with a poor running game. Last season, when the Bengals went to Pittsburgh and won in December, Ben Roethlisberger had his only multiple-interception game of the season (two) and his lowest passer rating (58.6) of the year. And now he’s without his center, the pivot of his offensive line, his comfort zone among the linemen. Edge to the Bengals there, and maybe a big edge.
But what if the Steelers get Pittsburghish and start physicalin’ ’em? What of the major-ish tactical edge, then?
The Adieu Haiku
Manziel strafes Saban.
Again. I see in Cleveland
Furrowed brows by Browns.
Oh no, not Manziel!
Not when they have Doopy Pantz!
A performance guy